Front Porch Forum is about people connecting with their neighbors and getting involved in their neighborhoods. That involvement ranges from organizing a blow-out block party, to watering the next door neighbor’s plants when she’s away, to just becoming aware of a spate of bicycle thefts on the street. All that tuning in adds up to a heightened sense of community within the neighborhood… a simple and powerful thing.
Which brings me to American Machine, the new play created by local artist Jim Lantz. Jim has done a rare thing… he’s written, produced, and directed this show on his own… with a great team of people around him, but not housed within some larger organization. He’s taken the creative, career AND financial risks.
In doing this, he’s offering all folks local to the Burlington area a chance to tune in and get involved in local arts and national political discourse.
It’s simple, if you want to live in a place that has this kind of creative economy coursing through it, then you need to turn out, buy tickets, and take in the play. The show is clearly an artistic success. Now it’s up to local residents to make it a financial success by filling the seats. Get tickets here (show runs through Oct. 7, 2007).
To the play… my wife and I attended tonight’s performance with friends. While Front Porch Forum is a sponsor of the play and American Machine advertised in FPF, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought it might be lean toward a heavy-handed political piece… not at all.
Simply, I was enthralled. The production grabbed my attention and kept it the whole show. The six characters, their stories and their relationships all rang true, even when the drama flared. I know I’ll be thinking of the characters for some time, wondering what comes next for them. And the political message struck me as timeless, not about policy minutia.
I look forward to discussing the play with neighbors out on the sidewalk in the coming days… lots to mull over.
One last idea for locals… post a message about American Machine on your FPF neighborhood forum… help spread the word and build local community! Here are some details.